you will have heard about white space. We come across this advice again and
again: Make sure you have enough white space.
text draws your eye to the text. It literally refers to the amount of space
around and between the words.
When your text forms a solid block it overwhelms your reader. The reader is
negative about it, before they even begin to read.
paragraphs, with long sentences. There is very little white space. Below is an image of George Orwell’s 1984. It is a good example of a book with very
little white space, and even though it’s one of the more readable classics, you
still have to work hard.
it makes it easier for us to read.
it draws the reader’s attention to the text.
it is uncluttered and calming.
Use lists. When you list items it makes it scannable. If you have
more than three points it is better to number your items instead of using
bullets. Try not to use more than 3-5 bullets.
Increase line spacing. If it is possible increase your line spacing on your
documents. A good average is 1.5. Remember to refer to the company style guide
before you do this.
Shorten your sentences. Long sentences form solid blocks. You should vary the
length of your sentences.
Break up paragraphs. Reconsider your paragraphs and try to discuss only one
point per paragraph.
Avoid justifying your documents. People are passionate about justifying their
documents, but it makes it harder to read and proofread. Most professional
documents have been typeset and your average computer doesn’t typset very well. It
creates rivulets (diagonal spaces) between the words, uneven spaces in
sentences and solid blocks of text.
If you are interested in learning how to improve your business writing skills, join us for The Plain Language Programme.
by Mia Botha
If you enjoyed this post, you will love:
- Why You Need To Write In Plain Language
- From Passive Voice To Active Voice – How To Spot It & How To Change It
- September Writing Prompts
Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write – Write to communicate.